Great Expectations takes the reader through the life of Mr. Pip, starting out in his small town outside of London, England “in the marsh country down by the river, twenty miles of the sea.” and through his acquiring great expectations. The story takes place in what I would guess to be late 19th century England.
Let me clarify what great expectations are: a lot of wealth. Pip comes into a lot of wealth.
Through the greater part of the book, Pip is left wondering – but highly suspecting – who his benefactor is. This leads Pip on a journey from the dirty blacksmithing ovens of Joe Gargery, the husband of Pip’s older sister – Miss Joe – who adopted Pip at a young age because their parents died when Pip was a baby, and onwards to the big city of London.
But, before Pip comes into great expectations, he meets Estella. And, at this exact same time – ok, a few minutes later- , he also meets Miss Havisham. You see, when Estella is but three years old, Miss Havisham adopts the young Estella. Now at this time, Miss Havisham is a bitter old lady who has let her entire fortune go to spoil because when she was young and beautiful, she fell in love with a man who took her heart and squished it in a plot of betrayal. Naturally this turned dear Miss Havisham into a bitter old lady, but somewhat unnaturally she also stopped all her clocks at the hour her heart was broken and wore the same wedding dress it was broken in. It is natural, however, that the adopted mother of young Estella, in her heartless ways, should also turn young Estella into a cold and heartless young woman, beautiful as she may be.
It should be known that at this first meeting young Pip, who was requested to attend Miss Havisham by arrangement of Pip’s relative Mr. Pumblechook – a man Pip detests from an early age – fell in love with Estella; head over heels, no thought without her, madly in love kind of way.
I must say that this book throughout it’s entirety had me very interested in Pip and his journey. Every interaction and character in the book had a meaning. Such a tight net was woven about Pip that it’s very hard sometimes to even believe the extraordinary circumstances that lead Pips on his journey. But alas, as the story unfolds, so do the unique circumstances. I found that towards the end of the novel after the plot has been woven so thick and carefully, things begin to speed up and pass by almost carelessly! Hardly leaving the reader enough time to understand the situation and to comprehend what Pip has just done! But, this also lends a hand to understanding the mental state of young Pip, growing into his own and learning more about the big world.
What I enjoy about this book is it very accurately identifies the struggles of a young man in his life. I think this book very accurately portrays the struggles of a young man. As a young man, we find ourselves outgrowing our old clothes, devouring information and becoming rebellious against those that care for us the most as we look towards bigger and better opportunities and knowledge. But, after this outlook is abused and attitude is exhausted for long enough, we often realize how precious the relationships are that we have with those special people around us, and our primary concern becomes their state of contentment.
I highly suggest you read this classic, it’s well worth the read!